Rising from the underground is no easy feat. Racing to gigs, grinding out studio sessions and developing a unique motif is all part of the hustle. It's undoubtedly a battle, but for Detroit duo Golf Clap it's a journey they've wholeheartedly embraced.
Hugh Cleal and Bryan Jones have been making music and DJing since well before Golf Clap became a reality in 2013. United by a shared passion for house, they've quickly garnered a cult-like following through original productions and their record label Country Club Disco. That said, a major reason for the massive buzz surrounding these artists is their unparalleled skill at delivering dancefloor bumping DJ sets. Whether it's at Movement for an early daytime set, deep in the forest at Electric Forest or an impromptu b2b with their peers Mija and GRiZ on Holy Ship, revelers are drawn to their infectious energy like moths to a flame. It's this clear cut reason that Mixmag has tapped them to deliver the next Impact mix.
Ahead of their massive 2018 tour that will see Golf Clap hit the road with special guests Eyes Everywhere and Codes making stops throughout the US, Mixmag sat down with the duo to find out more about their distinct artistic vision. Read on to find out...
Listen to Golf Clap's Impact mix below
What’s up guys, what’ve you been up to lately?
Hey what’s up, its good to talk to you guys. We’ve been back in the studio more than ever recently. Just signed a couple EPs that are coming out this Summer. Recently remixed Zeds Dead & Illenium as well as Codes. Just got back from playing a bunch of shows in Miami for MMW. Been lining up our new US tour as well that will be announced this week. We’ve also updated our Spotify playlist with songs from the mix and some other stuff we're playing.
Tell me about the inspiration behind your Impact mix?
We played lots of stuff coming out soon on our label Country Club Disco. We hit up a lot of producers and labels privately to get some good exclusive stuff for the mix. We generally try to play a little more chill stuff on mixes and play less things with vocals. Songs with vocals and big hooks tend to sound great the first few times you listen to a mix. They are instant gratification songs that we play more at parties. We try to make mixes you can listen to over and over without getting sick of the songs. Usually it ends up being more subtle songs with less vocals.
You’re based in Detroit, how has the city shaped or influenced your style or sound?
When we first started Golf Clap, we were playing a ton in Detroit, so naturally the things that work in this city started to find their way into our sets. We take influence from not only the techno godfathers, but also the scenes that are currently dominating the Detroit scene. Everything from Dirtybird to GRiZ. You learn how to play for each one of those fanbases after doing enough shows with them. Festivals like Movement and Electric Forest help influence the sound people listen to in Detroit and in Michigan in general as well.
You are a fixture on the US festival circuit and are a major draw for people looking for a bumping party, what’s your approach to delivering this to patrons?
One thing is that we consistently play new music and do a lot of DJ tricks. We also have been building the Country Club Disco brand and branching out the parties to other cities. Whenever we go to a new city, we try to meet as many people as possible. When we go back, we put them on the guestlist and get them to come out with their friends. We also try to get our DJ friends that are in town to come out and jam with us whenever we can.
Your DJ sets are filled with loads of intricate DJ tricks, how did you develop that unique style?
We’ve both been DJing for a long time now. But when we first linked up, we were DJing a lot together in Detroit and we got really used to using the Pioneer Nexus gear. Some nights when we were opening, we’d try to learn a couple new tricks every night. Pick one of the effects and figure out how to do something cool with it before people started showing up. We also edit out little vocal parts and acapellas from other songs and have those in a separate folder ready to go. There’s always 4 decks when we play, so we can be loading up the next songs or dropping in DJ tools.
Your label Country Club Disco has been running strong for while now, what’s your vision for the label and what do you look for in the music you release?
We’ve been going for about 5 years now. We’ve got a heavy release schedule lined up including a Lux Groove EP coming out at the end of April. Building up the label is a big focus for us this year so we can really push the artists that we believe in. We try to release music that we would want a label sending to us on promo. Stuff that we play in our sets. On top of that though, we are really trying to find people who are in this for the long haul and are tour ready or close to it. The label is like family to us, so finding people we get along with and want to be around is also very important. We love playing shows with our friends and some of the people on our label are our best friends. We are drawn to people who are passionate about what they do.
You also have a really interesting relationship with your fans, you are very open with them and like to give back, why do you feel it’s important for you to be like that?
It sounds cliche, but we think of them as friends/family and not fans. These are the people we see all the time in different cities. If somebody comes up and says they love your music and have seen you at a million shows, you appreciate them. It’s a lot less lonely on the road when you know you have friends that you’re excited to see in every city. We are grateful for everyone’s support and are always trying to think of cool little things we can do to give back to show our appreciation.
What’s next for Golf Clap?
Our remix of Autograf’s new song 'Dead Soon' is coming out in early May. We’ve got a couple big EPs coming out this summer. Big Country Club Disco parties coming up in Detroit including Hot Since 82 and more at The Russell Industrial Center. We’re playing at Movement and have a Country Club Disco after party that weekend on Monday night at The Works. We are announcing a second bigger after party very soon for Sunday night that weekend as well, watch out! Announcing our new US tour this week. Very exciting stuff going on right now. Can’t wait to see you again on tour!
Listen to Golf Clap's Impact Mix below
Harrison is Mixmag's East Coast Editor. Follow him on Twitter here
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